Widgets Magazine

New Tree joins the forest

At the conclusion of Tree Week this year, Tyler Clark ’18 emerged as the new Stanford Tree. Clark performed an exorcism and traveled out of the country in an effort to impress the Leland Stanford Junior Marching Band (LSJUMB) over the course of the two-week audition period.

The Daily reached out to Clark to discuss his new position, but Clark decided to throw some challenges our way beforehand.

When contacted to set up an interview, Clark first replied in Japanese.

“I’m afraid I don’t speak English,” Clark wrote in Japanese. “Does Kazdan speak Japanese?”

To accommodate The Daily’s lack of proficiency in Japanese, Clark later switched to Morse code.

-. — / .– — .-. .-. .. . … –..– / .. / .– .. .-.. .-.. / …. .- …- . / .-.. . .- .-. -. . -.. / . -. –. .-.. .. … …. / -… -.– / – …. . -. / ..-. — .-. / -.– — ..- .-. / -.-. — -. …- . -. .. . -. -.-. . .-.-.- / — . . – / — . / .- – / —-. —… ..— —– / … …. .- .-. .–. / .. -. / – …. . / -.-. .- -.-. – ..- … / –. .- .-. -.. . -. .-.-.- / — -.– / – .-. . . / -.-. — … – ..- — . / .– .. .-.. .-.. / -. — – / -… . / -.-. .-. . .- – . -.. / ..- -. – .. .-.. / – …. . / … ..- — — . .-. / -… ..- – / .. / .– .. .-.. .-.. / .– . .- .-. / .- / – .-. .- -.. .. – .. — -. .- .-.. / … -.- .. -. / .–. .- … … . -.. / -.. — .– -. / ..-. .-. — — / — -.– / .- -. -.-. . … – — .-. … .-.-.-

“Meet me at 9:20 p.m. sharp in the cactus garden,” Clark wrote. “My Tree costume will not be created until the summer, but I will wear a traditional skin passed down from my ancestors.”

Finally, the Tree arrived at the cactus garden.

New Stanford Tree Tyler Clark ’18 (JOSH KAZDAN/The Stanford Daily).

The Stanford Daily (TSD): Why do you identify with the Stanford Tree? What made you apply for this post?

Tyler Clark (TC): It’s kinda something you’re born into. Honestly, there’s no real trying out for Tree. You don’t know you’re the Tree, but it’s a real destiny. As for why I might have been a good candidate, it’s all about rocking out as hard as you can. You know this world is a simulation, but you don’t really know who’s running it. Well, the Trees run it. The Trees pick someone every year to join them. I’m excited to peek behind the scenes of this binary world and see how it really works. It’s all about who has the most soul – the most funk.

TSD: Can you tell me a little bit about what you went through to become the Tree?

TC: I honestly kind of wing things. But I did things that I’ve really wanted to do for a really long time. For my entrance [to announce that I was running for Tree], I came in a gigantic can of Chef Boyardee that I made and covered myself in Miracle Grow and Pinesol. I booked a one-way ticket to Tijuana, and Sam [Weyen ’18], the current Tree, took me out to the airport. And I actually hitchhiked back to Stanford over the weekend.

TSD: Can you tell us about some other stunts?

TC: I had an exorcism in front of the Band Shak. In order to save Band, you need a real source of funk. So we took some of the funk out of my soul and used that. I also went to every athletics event this quarter. I think it was about 55. The other candidate, Magic [Sam Sagan ’18], and I ate the world’s hottest pepper in the Bender room and then played chess to see who could get milk first. I’ve actually eaten the pepper five times now. I think that was a big reason why the forest picked me.

TSD: What did Magic do for his audition?

TC:  He hugged a former drum major for 28 hours straight in order to break the world record for longest hug.

TSD: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?  Where are you from? What did you come to Stanford to do other than be the Tree?

TC: I grew up in a place called Lockton, Texas, which is in a huge region called the Piney Woods. Every single day I’d walk outside, and there’d be pine trees everywhere; there was no diversity whatsoever in flora. I felt it was kind of my destiny that I grew up on a street called Sprucewood Drive for 15 years, too. Honestly, I kind of came here just to be the Tree. I remember visiting Stanford during Admit Weekend and seeing the Tree and knowing that I wanted to be him. Academics are kinda cool, I guess. But right now the emphasis is on just rockin’.

TSD: Do you have any plans for what the new Tree is going to look like?

TC: I’m looking to make something a little bit more abstract. You shouldn’t necessarily expect something from the past. Something outside the bounds of what your mind can envision or comprehend as a tree.

TSD: What do you see as the difference between being laughed at and with?

TC:  Part of the role of being the Tree is playing a little bit of the role of court jester. People are always going to laugh at you, but you have to not care. There are people who get it, people who enjoy what you’re doing. If people don’t – oh well.

 

Contact Josh Kazdan at jkazdan ‘at’ stanford.edu.